Monthly Archives: April 2014

never too late to say i’m sorry

Was I bullied? Maybe. But not really. I don’t know.

Me, probably my junior year of high school.

I was different. My family was Pentecostal – full blown Pentecostal with the long skirts, long hair, no make up or earrings, the whole kit and caboodle. That’s how I was raised. My parents were strong in their faith and we followed the Pentecostal standards. For the most part, I don’t remember many people being mean to me directly, but at the same time, I didn’t have loads of friends at my public school from age 12 or 13 and up. The friends that I had were outsiders, with the exception of a few. The only thing we all had in common is that we didn’t fit in with the majority of our peers. I was the furthest thing from “popular.” I just wanted to be normal. I wanted to be like every other girl who painted her nails, wore jeans, and had her hair cut into those phenomenal Jennifer Aniston layers. I longed to play sports or an instrument and have some sort of place I fit in. I wanted a boy at school to like me. To ask me to be his girlfriend. Never happened. Not once. I learned to shrink and become invisible. Unnoticeable. To blend in with the background. 

Almost a year ago, I got a private message on Facebook from one of my former middle and high school classmates. She was more than a classmate at one time. In 6th and 7th grade, we were the very best of friends. We shared a seat on the school bus, sleepovers, and secrets. We were inseparable. Two peas in a pod.

Until all the sudden, we just weren’t anymore.

 As if it were yesterday, I vividly remember approaching her in the middle school cafeteria to ask if I could sit with her, after feeling an awkward tension between us for a couple of weeks. She told me no, because someone else was going to sit there. I mustered up every ounce of confidence I had and asked, “are you mad at me?” She answered with 7 words that would haunt me for years.

“No. I just don’t like you anymore.”

 Right there in the cafeteria, in front of our peers, my heart broke into a million pieces. If I remember correctly, she had made the cheerleading team and clearly my companionship was easily replaced by a set of newer, cooler friends. I observed from the sidelines as she became more popular throughout the rest of our school years with the “in” crowd. Boyfriends, homecoming dances, prom. All normal things that high schoolers do. I was jealous. Bitter. I was an outcast at school. I’m not saying that I never had fun and never had any other friends. Because I did. I met the girl who is still my best friend when I was in 9th grade. Our friendship has matured and grown with us. 

My best friend Emily (left) and me in 1994.
And in 2013.
But for the most part, high school was not a pleasant time for me. It did nothing to build my confidence, which I continue to struggle with today. I can recall the names of a few popular students who were kind to me. They were few and far between but I remember a handful of specific incidents in which popular girls were nice to me. It made me feel so special at the time. It seems silly now that my self-worth hinged on such seemingly insignificant interactions.

Did I ever tell anyone what happened in the lunch room? No, not until recently. How do you tell your parents, “I feel like a loser, no one thinks I’m cool.” I don’t know if I could have even put my feelings into words at that time. My social life improved when I made friends at the new Apostolic church our family began attending. There were plenty of teenagers my age and I finally found a social group where I was ordinary instead of odd, but I still struggled to fit in at school.

Last May this girl that rejected me in middle school reached out to me. She said God had spoken to her heart and told her to apologize to me. That she knew she had been cruel and had been using the “kids are mean” excuse to justify her actions so many years ago. That she should have apologized sooner. That she knew she missed out on the blessing of my friendship (her words, not mine). That she made the decision to end our friendship out of selfishness and not as the result of anything I did. That she was so sorry. I sincerely appreciated and accepted her apology with tears in my eyes. And I did it while re-experiencing every emotion I’d known as that timid middle school girl standing in front of her, trying to hold on to my blue divided lunch tray as much as I was trying to hold on to my dignity.

A woman that I met as an adult before we had babies told me today that I was one of the first true friends that she’d ever had because I never hurt or used her or brushed her off like others had. That began a conversation about “kids are mean” and we shared past experiences. How these mean kids turn into adults… some continue to be mean, oblivious to the impact of their actions. Some figure it out and try to make things right. Regardless, we are now becoming the adults who are shaping our world. We talked about how apologies, even years later, are meaningful and a good indication of whether or not people ever truly change.

What I went through was not that severe. I realize teens go through much, much worse. Kids are still mean and, years later, I can still feel that pain and self-doubt if I allow it to creep in. Our experiences, good and bad, shape us into who we become. How we approach life and do our jobs. Parent our kids. Interact with strangers. The thought of my children experiencing that kind of angst breaks my heart, but I know I have to let them feel it. I hope it helps them grow, not shrink. I have to let them accept disappointment as children so they can adapt. Disappointments only get bigger and have deeper consequences as we get older.

I hope they are nice to others. I hope someone remembers them for their kindness one day. And I hope they are humble enough to say they’re sorry for their mistakes when they should.

I said all that to say this: If you feel guilty about the way you treated someone and you’ve held on to that guilt, the recipient of your actions probably held on to the feelings they had about it too.  Whenever it happened, whatever it was, man (or woman) up and say you’re sorry. It’s never too late to apologize.


Easter 2014

As always, I love looking back at the posts I do annually to see how the boys have changed. So bittersweet to see their baby faces.
Easter 2013
Easter 2012

I can’t find a blog post about Easter 2011 when I was 8+ months pregnant with Dexter. I know I have pictures on the external hard drive but don’t feel like dragging it out right now. Bummer.

Anyway.  We went to Cincinnati for the dual purposes of celebrating my nephew Spencer’s 9th birthday as well as Easter.  The weather was so perfect, I could not have asked for better. My little fall and injury was the only downer to the entire weekend. We enjoyed great family time, amazing food, and the boys weren’t half bad considering they were getting no naps and far fewer hours of sleep each night than what they are used to at home.

Just a little light (and upside down) reading on the way to Ohio.
Morning Lego play between cousins. 
Cousin Spencer loves his little pals and he is their hero.

Some sleepy boys in the car.

Playing “which hand is it in” with Uncle Bob.

Little boy in a big world.
Loungin’ with pop pop.
Dexter decided to help himself to some frosting when no one was looking.
The birthday boy, in all of his royal silliness.

Easter morning cutie.
Easter bunny popped by!

Eager little boys.

Do you like our audience (in the neighbor’s yard)…haha! They love watching the kids have fun.

Anyone that knows me in real life knows I won’t shut up about the weather right now. It’s my absolute favorite time of year. Did I mention how nice the weather was over the holiday weekend?

After the neighborhood’s little egg hunt, we headed back home in time to play outside a little more and grill hotdogs for dinner. Perfect ending to a wonderful weekend!
I hope you and your family had a great weekend too. 

filed under: most embarrassing moment #37,428

Now I’ve taught him bad words. Oh, and you can add “dropping his little brother on the concrete sidewalk” to the list of reasons why I win Best All-Around Mom.  
Picture it. Easter Weekend. 2014. 
(Real quick and then I’ll get to the point — did you ever watch Golden Girls? Do you remember when Sophia used to say “Picture it. Sicily. 1923” or some other year before telling stories about when she was young? No?  Right. Just me then? Okay…that’s what I figured anyway). 
We visited Ryan’s sister in Cincinnati for the weekend.  We were walking through Newport on the Levee and I was carrying Dexter because he was still tired after napping in the car.  We were on a mission. We were hungry. We were ready and excited to eat lunch at Tom+Chee (have you been? LOVE).
This lady (me) trips and goes flying through the air (not really, I kind of vaguely remember my feet going into auto-pilot, shuffling on the ground as I attempted to save myself and my baby son). My thought process was something like “I’m falling I’m falling wait maybe I’m catching myself no I’m for sure falling…” before there was a big SPLAT.
Next thing I know, I am lying on top of Dexter on the sidewalk and our group, who was walking ahead of me, turns around and starts saying things – I’m guessing along the lines of “are you okay?” but I really don’t recall specifics. I sat up and picked up Dexter, who was screaming, sure that he had a broken bone or massive bleed but there were no signs of injury.  I was in shock and pain and stood up, quickly looking at my camera to see if it was destroyed. It also appeared fine.  What wasn’t fine, however, was the fiery sensation coming from my left hand and both knees.  My knees were bloodied but we couldn’t just stop moving so we found a bench that was coincidentally in front of Tom+Chee (which was closed for remodeling for THREE days – why? Why, why, why on Easter weekend? Why on any weekend? Why on the only weekend I was in town and wanted to go there?).  I sat down and fell again – only this time it was into a deep well of self-pity. I wanted to cry, it hurt so bad. Ryan came back with some wet paper towels to blot the dirt and blood.
Theo. Sweet, innocent, little bitty baby Theo (okay, okay. I know he’s 4 – shut up. He’s still little). He was concerned about his injured mama. He came over to me and squatted down in front of me, wincing. Looking over my boo boos with great care not to get to close or touch them. Then he said it. Sooo softly, he said it.
“F*ck, mommy.”
Hmm? I said “WHAT?!”
He shook his head no and said “nothing! I didn’t say anything.”
I looked at Ryan and he shook his head as well. “He didn’t hear that from me!”
I looked at Theo again. Gently, I asked, “where did you hear that?  It’s okay. I’m not mad. I was just wondering where you heard that.”
He looked at me and ever so quietly again said, “from you, mommy.”  ~insert shock and horror on my face here~ He continued, “when you fell,” pointing to my knees.
Well shit. I mean, “jumping jellyfish” or something else more appropriate. Apparently I say bad words when I go flying through the air, drop my baby, and then land on top of him, while injuring myself in the process.
Whatever. I didn’t mean to. SO that whole lunch episode was pretty much a bust (literally, snort snort). End of story.  And that’s the tale of how I taught my 4 year old the F-bomb.
With that out of the way, it’s time for some reflection to ponder the remarkable, innate, motherly instinct within.  It is mind-boggling to me that Dexter did not have a single scratch on him. I don’t think I’m some sort of super-mom or anything, but in the midst of that chaos, clearly my natural instinct was to protect him. I don’t remember thinking anything along the lines of protecting him (apparently it was just “oh f*ck I’m falling and holding Dexter and these things are happening simultaneously) but I did.  How did I not slam his head on the concrete when I fell and landed on top of him?  I DON’T KNOW, other than adrenaline and natural instinct kicked in. I’m still having a hard time wrapping my head around that. I wish I could replay the whole 3 second debacle over and over to see what my body did in that situation while my mind was in panic mode. Oddly enough, it makes me more confident in my mothering abilities. It makes me feel like more of a mama bear than I already did.  I freakin’ excel under pressure. 
Well – aside from that whole language thing that I should probably work on.